THE MOTORSPORT LAP
Vettel feels not done yet despite Hamilton’s lead
Jonathan Rea clinches fourth World Superbike title and look: Porsche Motorsport’s birthday gift
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel isn’t ready to give up the fight despite falling to 50 points behind his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton after Sunday’s Russian Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi.
"I wasn’t a genius in maths, but I was clever enough to pay attention to make it up myself," said the German when asked whether he could feel the championship slipping away after Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two in Russia.
"It’s not getting easier if we lose points. "I still believe in our chances; yes, obviously it’s not getting bigger if you finish behind but who knows? It takes one DNF (non-finish) and then all of a sudden things look different," he added.
"Ideally two — which I’m not wishing on Lewis but you never know what happens. So we need to stay on top of our game which maybe we haven’t been completely this weekend: make sure that from where we are now, we focus on winning the last races."
Hamilton has now won eight times this season, and five of the last six races, while Vettel — on five wins — opened the campaign strongly but has faded due in part to errors made by himself and the team.
The German now has 256 points to Hamilton’s 306, with five races remaining.
Japan is up next, followed by Texas and Mexico, before Brazil and the finale in Abu Dhabi.
Vettel won his first title with Red Bull in 2010 after overhauling a 31-point deficit in the last six races, while in 2012 he took his third crown despite having been 44 points adrift of his then-closest rival Fernando Alonso at one point.
Hip, hip, hoo Rea
Jonathan Rea clinched his fourth World Superbike title in succession at the French round on the weekend.
The Northern Irishman has dominated the season, winning 13 races and wrapping up the championship with two rounds still to go.
Winning Saturday’s first race at the Magny Cours circuit ensured the Kawasaki ZX-10 rider claimed an unassailable lead in the standings, but there wasn’t too much time for celebration as there was Sunday’s race to run, which he promptly won as well.
Rea has now made it eight consecutive victories in a row, matching the best World SBK winning streak since Troy Bayliss did the same back in 2006. Rea is also the first SBK rider to win four consecutive titles. Englishman Carl Fogarty took four in the 1990s but not in successive years.
Rea won Saturday’s race one ahead of his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes, with Xavi Fores (Ducati) third.
The champion took Sunday’s race after a close-fought battle with Ducati’s Chaz Davies, with Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) completing the podium.
Porsche Clubsport racer
Porsche has unveiled a new 935 race car featuring a body reminiscent of the legendary Porsche 935/78 of 40 years ago.
Based on the street-legal 911 GT2 RS, and powered by the same 515kW 3.8l six-cylinder turbo engine, this distinctly non-street-legal competition vehicle will be produced in a limited run of just 77 units.
The German car maker calls it a birthday present from Porsche Motorsport to fans all over the world. The car isn’t homologated for any racing series but is geared towards clubsport events and private training on racetracks.
Like its historic predecessor, most of the body is carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP). Paying tribute to the Porsche 935/78 Le Mans race car which was nicknamed "Moby Dick" due to its elongated shape and white base colour, it has an extended rear, a huge tail wing, and iconic Martini livery.
The car comes with a safety cage and racing bucket seat with a six-point safety harness, with a second seat for a passenger available as an optional extra.
Power is transferred to the 310mm wide rear wheels via a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission.
The new Porsche 935 can be ordered for €701,948 (R11.6m).